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Renewed Promise      Exodus 6:2-13

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Exodus 6:2-13
(2)    And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
(3)    And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
(4)    And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
(5)    And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
(6)    Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
(7)    And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
(8)    And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
(9)    And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
(10)  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
(11)  Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
(12)  And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?
(13)  And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

These verses are the concluding portion of the Call of Moses, and can only be understood in connection with Chapters 3-5.

In view of the despair and despondency of both Moses and the People recorded in the last chapter, and in reply to the reproach of Moses,  ‘Thou hast not delivered Thy people,’  God repeats the promises of redemption made at Horeb.


I Am the  LORD - or - I Am Adonai
The emphasis is on the words  I am the Lord
They are not intended to inform Moses what God is called,

but to impress upon him that the guarantee of the fulfillment of the Divine promises lay in the nature of the Being who had given the promises.

I am the Lord  is often used as a reminder of Divine retribution both in connection with rewards and with punishments.


As God Almighty
The Hebrew word El Shaddai,  is usually translated from the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible), as ‘Almighty’. The Hebrew word Shaddai has also been derived from a root  ‘to heap benefits’;  and it would then mean ‘Dispenser of benefits’. 

Note that the text reads,  ‘as God Almighty’  and not,  ‘with my name God Almighty.’ 
There is here no question of contrasting an old Name with any new Name about to be disclosed.

But by my name Adonai I made me not known to them
Better,  ‘but as to My name Adonai, I was not known to them.’ 
In other words,

 " I was not recognized by them  (the Patriarchs)  in my attribute of Faithfulness,  which is the essential part of the Name Adonai,  signifying  One who is faithful to give reality of His word;  seeing that I had promised them possession of Canaan,  but had not in their day fulfilled that promise."  

God was now to make the full signification of that Name known to the children of Israel by redeeming them from slavery.


I have heard
The pronoun is emphatic; the same Being who established the Covenant.  So the context of the passage is implying: ‘I am unchangeable and My plans are unalterable.  I have promised to your ancestors the possession of Canaan after a certain time of trial and misery;  this period of oppression is now drawing near its close;  and I shall therefore fulfill My promise by rescuing you with great judgments from your oppressors’.


I will redeem you
The Hebrew word here is  gaal  which means,  ‘to reclaim, redeem’; 
hence  goel,  which is the technical term for the kinsman whose duty it was to ransom or,  if need be,  avenge the person or property of his relative. 
God intervenes in order to ransom His helpless and suffering People from slavery;  and in mercy and faithfulness,  He becomes their Redeemer (goel ).


I will take you to me for a people
After the redemption from Egypt, God will take Israel to Mount Sinai to receive His revealed Teaching. 
The covenant at Mount Sinai was the higher spiritual purpose of Israel’s deliverance.


The Hebrew word here is  morashah,  the same word is used in  Deut. 33:4. 
This is significant.  Israel has been offered two heritages:

The one spiritual  the Torah - is unconditional and eternal
The other physical the Land of Promise. Its possession depends upon Israel’s appreciation of, and obedience to, its God-given Law.
Genealogy of Moses and Aaron      Exodus 6:14 - 7:7

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Exodus 6:14-27
(14)  These be the heads of their fathers' houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben.
(15)  And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon.
(16)  And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
(17)  The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.
(18)  And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of  Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years.
(19)  And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their 
(20)  And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.
(21)  And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
(22)  And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri.
(23)  And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
(24)  And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites.
(25)  And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families.
(26)  These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the
LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.
(27)  These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron.


These be the heads of their fathers' houses
At this point the narrative gives the genealogical tree of Moses and Aaron, who now assume leadership of the People. In giving the chiefs of the families of the tribe of Levi, the names of the families of the two elder tribes are included, possibly to show that even as Moses was not the eldest son of Amram, Kohath was not the eldest son of Levi.
ISRAEL (Jacob)
Reuben (Eldest son)
Simeon (2nd son)
Levi (3rd son)
LEVI (3rd son of Jacob)
Gershon (Eldest son)
Kohath (2nd son)
Merari (3rd son)
KOHATH (2nd son of Levi)
Amram (Eldest son)
Izhar (2nd son)
Hebron (3rd Son) Uzziel (4tj son)
AMRAM (Eldest son of Kohath)
AARON (Eldest son)
Moses (2nd son)
The firstborn according to nature is not always the ‘first-born’ in the sight of God. 
This thought is general in Scripture. Abel, Shem, Isaac, Jacob, Levi, Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, Moses, David, were none of them eldest sons in their families, yet were the chosen of God.


As later in the case of royal persons (I Kings 15:2), the name of the mothers of Moses and Aaron, Eleazar and Phineas, are given. 

The name means,  ‘Adonai is my glory’  (which shows that,  contrary to the belief of Bible critics,  the name Adonai was used before the days of Moses.


According to their hosts
Or, ‘armies,’ 
The Israelites did not leave Egypt as a disorderly mob.
They were divided into tribes, clans and families, with leaders and elders.

These verses are a continuation of 6:2-12,  at the point where the narrative gives place to the genealogical lists.

Verses 29 and 30 are, in effect, identical with v. 11 and 12, and the repetition serves merely to resume the story of the Redemption.


Exodus 7:1-7
(1)  And the
LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
(2)  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.
(3)  And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
(4)  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
(5)  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the
LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
(6)  And Moses and Aaron did as the
LORD commanded them, so did they.
(7)  And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.


Moses would give the Divine message as the direct representative of God (see 4:16).

"Made the as God"  (ASV, RSV)
Moses was given divine authority and power over Pharaoh, while Aaron was commissioned to serve as Moses' prophet or spokesman. 

This is the original meaning of the Semitic root of the Hebrew word  nabi,  prophet. 
Aaron would give utterance to the words communicated by God to Moses,  or to the thoughts which God put into the mind of Moses,  with reference to Pharaoh. 

The prophets are inspired spokesmen of God’s will.  They warn the people of the consequences of disobedience, and they often foretell events; but the latter is not their primary function.


Make obstinate; or make stubborn (Moffat). 
This is not the usual word for hardening; it is found also in Ps 95:8. 

Signs, Wonders
Signs and wonders, as they are usually connected, sometimes denote those proofs or demonstrations of power and authority which were furnished by miracles, and by other tokens of the divine presence

In Biblical language a sign is a token, or whatever serves to express or represent another thing. 
Thus the Lord gave to

Noah the rainbow as a sign of his covenant (Gen 9:12,13)
Abraham circumcision (Gen 17:11; see also Ex 3:12; Judg 6:17)

In Isa 7:18 the word is used for a prophetic similitude Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel" (see also Ezek 4:3).

Sometimes those unusual appearances which betoken the approach of great events (Luke 21:11,25), 
Sometimes tokens or pledges as evidences of  fulfillment (2:12; 1 Cor 1:22). 

This word is emphatically used in Scripture for a miraculous appearance, which would attest the divine authority of a prophet or teacher. 

The Jews asked our Lord for "a sign from heaven" (Matt 16:1),  meaning the appearance of the Messiah coming in the clouds of heaven, which Daniel had foretold (Dan 7:13),  and which, "the traditions of the elders,"  as appears from the Talmud, had declared to be the only certain sign of the advent of the promised inheritor of  David's throne and deliverer of the Jewish nation.  So our Lord refers to  "the sign of the Son of man" (Matt 24:30),  as prefigured by the national overthrow of the Jews (see Zettner, De Astre. Judceis quondam Ominoso [Alt. 1724], and the monographs cited by Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 187).
(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

The Substance and Settings of Signs

The Hebrew word  “oth,  ‘sign,’  is an object,  an occurrence,  an event through which a person is to recognize,  learn,  remember,  or perceive the credibility of something.”

Signs in the order of creation

These include:

(Gen. 1:14) The lights in the firmament of the heavens 
(Gen. 9:12,13,17) The rainbow
(Isa. 37:30) Second growth, wild growth, sowing and reaping
(Isa. 55:13) An unexpected crop
(Jer.10:2) Astral phenomena
(Ps. 65:9) The permanence of the mountains and the stilling of the raging sea

Signs in the order of nature

(Ex. 7:3; Deut. 4:34;6:22) The plagues in Egypt connected with the exodus 
(Gen. 17:11) The cultic institutions include circumcision
(Ex. 12:13) The blood of the Passover lamb
(Ex. 13:9) Eating the matstsoth, “unleavened bread”
(Ex. 13:16) The consecration of the firstborn
(Ex. 31:13,17; Ezek. 20:12,20) The Sabbath
(Gen. 1:14) The stars
(Num. 17:3) The covering of the altar

The Functions of Signs

The function of a sign,  like its outward form or substance,  shows that:

Its miraculous or striking nature is not what matters,
The intention of a sign is not to terrify the onlooker
But to mediate an understanding or to motivate a kind of behavior

When Moses works signs at God’s command  (Ex. 3:12;  4:8,9,28,30),  they serve to demonstrate his 
The Israelites are not simply to respond to them in astonishment. 
If they had,  these signs would have failed to accomplish their purpose. 
Moreover,  Moses does not use signs for  “his own greater glory,”  although they do establish his legitimacy.

They establish his legitimacy as one sent from God,  and also guarantee the reliability of the message with which he is sent to the Israelites.  Similarly,  the signs which God worked in Egypt were not designed primarily to terrify Pharaoh and his people, but to cause him to acknowledge “that I am Yahweh” (Ex. 7:3,5), or  “that I, Yahweh, rule in the midst of the land” (Ex. 8:19).


Shall know that I am the LORD

Or, ‘I am Adonai’. When God led His people forth from the brickfields of Egypt into freedom, there would be such a display of His mercy and power, that Egypt, and all the surrounding nations, would know that only a Being of such attributes as are implied in His holy name (Adonai) could do this wonder.

Israel was to know by redemption (Ex 6:7)
Egypt was to know by judgment


Fourscore years  old
The age of  Joseph is similarly indicated on his appointment as Viceroy by the king.  That appointment is made with the formula,  ‘I am Pharaoh,’  and is followed by the statement,  ‘and Joseph was thirty years old.’  Then his official activity begins. 
The appointment of Moses to be  ‘in God’s stead to Pharaoh’  is announced with a similar formula, 
I am Adonai’;  and his official activity,  like that of Joseph,  is prefaced by the statement of his age.

This disposes of the belief that  I am Adonai  in 7:2 is any revelation of a new Name of God.
The Magicians       Exodus 7:8 - 13

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Exodus 7:8-13
(8)    And the
LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
(9)    When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
(10)  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the
LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
(11)  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
(12)  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
(13)  And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the
LORD had said.


Show a wonder
In other words display some proof as the credential of being God’s messengers.

Take thy rod
This rod, whether a common staff, an ensign of office, or a shepherd's crook, was now consecrated for the purpose of working miracles; and is called:

the rod of God, 
the rod of Moses and the 
rod of Aaron

God gave it the miraculous power, and Moses and Aaron used it.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft) 

The Hebrew word here is tannin, and it denotes any large reptile, sea or river monster, and more especially the crocodile, as the symbol of Egypt.


Wise men - Wizards, who possessed a knowledge of many secrets of nature which were unknown to the people.
Sorcerers - ‘Men who are adept in altering the external appearance of things by their arts’.
Magicians - ‘Sacred scribes,’ versed in magic lore and practice;  jugglers of marvelous skill.
Two of these are named in 2 Tim. 3:8, “Jannes and Jambres”.

Secret Arts
Their spells and sleight-of-hand. 
Snake-charming is widespread in the East, ancient and modern. Dr. A Macalister says that he has  ‘seen both a snake and a crocodile thrown by hypnotism into the condition of rigidity and they could be held up like a rod by the tail’

The Ten Plagues        Exodus 7:14 - 10:29

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The First Nine Plagues
7:14-25 First Plague (Blood) Warning
8:1-15 Second Plague (Frogs)
8:16-19 Third Plague (Lice)
No Warning
8:20-32 Fourth Plague (Flies) Warning
9:1-7 Fifth Plague (Murrain)
9:8-12 Sixth Plague (Boils)
No Warning
9:13-35 Seventh Plague (Hail) Warning
10:1-20 Eighth Plague (Locusts)
10:21-27 Ninth Plague (Darkness)
No Warning

It will be noticed that the number  nine  is connected with judgment,  and that the third plague of each three is without warning.  To make the symmetry complete,  Aaron was used in the infliction of the first three,  and Moses of the last three.

"Bible story is nowhere more vivid than in its picture of the Plagues of Egypt.  Pharaoh is the incarnation of sullen force,  yielding by inches,  or for a single moment,  only to harden his heart when the crisis is past.  But it is human strength matching itself against the inexhaustible resources of nature,  which Moses is permitted to wield.  The river which is Egypt’s pride runs with blood;  from out its reed-grass, f rogs invade the secret recesses of luxury;  the dust of the ground takes life,  to become loathsome vermin;  indoors and outside,  there is no escape from swarming flies and corruption.  While all over the land of Egypt beasts are dying of murrain,
IN ISRAEL’S LAND OF GOSHEN THE CATTLE ARE INTACT.  The royal magicians seeking to complete with the wonders of Moses,  become themselves victims to the plague of boils.  Now the heavens begin to play their part,  and rain down wasting hail;  while,  to enhance the wonder,  fire winds about the hailstones and melts them not.  The land of Egypt is one mass of desolation;  but from outside,  the east wind blows steadily until the swarming locusts hide the ground;  at a sign from the champion of Israel,  the western hurricane succeeds,  and the locust hosts are swept into the Red Sea.  Then the whole scene dissolves into darkness that might be felt;  every man a solitary prisoner where he stands.  At last,  midnight reveals the slain firstborn and Pharaoh and his people thrust Israel forth"   
(R.G. Moulton).

The First Plague  -  Blood          Exodus 7:14 - 25

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7:14-18 Liberation demanded (warning)
7:19-21 Plague inflicted
7:22a Plague imitated
7:22b-25 Liberation refused
Exodus 7:14-25
( 14)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.
( 15)  Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.
( 16)  And thou shalt say unto him, The L
ORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
( 17)  Thus saith the L
ORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
( 18)  And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lithe to drink of the water of the river.
( 19)  And the L
ORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of  Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
( 20)  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the L
ORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
( 21)  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
( 22)  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the L
ORD had said.
( 23)  And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.
( 24)  And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.
( 25)  And seven days were fulfilled, after that the L
ORD had smitten the river.


Unto the water
To learn how many degrees it had risen (Ibn Ezra); or, to offer worship to the god of the River. The Nile, as the source of Egypt’s ‘fertility’, was venerated under various names and symbols.  In honor of the Nile-god,  religious festivals were held,  at which Pharaoh himself sometimes officiated.  Hymns addressed to the Nile are extant (exist).


Know that I am the LORD
Pharaoh had boldly and wantonly said at his first interview with Moses, ‘I know not the Lord’ (v. 2),  He is now told that he shall soon
KNOW the Lord.

I will smite
The speaker is Moses.  Aaron performed the act at the bidding of Moses. 

Be turned to blood
They shall have the appearance of blood  (as in the moon turning into blood - Joel)  ‘At the sight of the bloody Nile, the Egyptians were with horror reminded of the murdered Hebrew children.


The fish that are in the river
The Nile possesses abundant fish,  whose death would be a national calamity,  as fish was one of the principal articles of food in ancient Egypt. 

Loathe to drink water
The word here translated  ‘loathe’  may be rendered  ‘weary themselves’. 
‘They will exerts themselves in vain to find a remedy to make the water of the Nile palatable’ (Rashi).


In like  manner
" From where did the magicians obtain water for their experiment,  as all the water had been turned into blood?"  Asks Ibn Ezra.   
They took rain  (says the Midrash from the Talmud which is the body of Jewish law and legend comprising the Mishnah and the Gemara, and containing the authoritative explanation of the Torah by the Rabbis of Palestine and Babylon, from the years 100 BCE to 500 ACE.). 
Or they obtained the water from Goshen,  or they dug for it (v. 24).


Neither did he lay even this to heart
Referring to the first miracle of Aaron’s serpent to which Pharaoh paid no attention. 
To make an apparent change of small quantities of water into blood,  was one of the common tricks of Egyptian magic.  Pharaoh,  therefore,  disregarding the universality and completeness of Moses’ miracle,  thought it nothing more than what he had often seen done by his magicians.


Seven days were fulfilled
Evidently referring to the duration of the plague.  Nothing is said about the restoration of the Nile to its natural state.  The flow of fresh water from the Upper Nile would cleanse the Nile in Egypt.

Josephus says:  “For the Egyptian river ran with bloody water at the command of God,  inasmuch that it could not be drunk,  and they had no other spring of water neither;  for the water was not only of the color of blood,  but it brought upon those that ventured to drink of it,  great pains and bitter torment.  Such was the river to the Egyptians;  but it was sweet and fit for drinking to the Hebrews,  and no way different from what it naturally used to be.” 
( Antiquities of the Jews Chapter 14 Page 61 Josephus)

The Second Plague  -  Frogs     Exodus 8:1 - 15

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Exodus 8:1-15
(1)    And the L
ORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
( 2)    And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:
( 3)    And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into  thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs:
( 4)    And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.
( 5)    And the L
ORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the  streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.
( 6)    And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the  land of Egypt.
( 7)    And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.
( 8)    Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the L
ORD, that he may take away the  frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.
( 9)    And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I entreat for thee, and for thy servants, and  for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river  only?
( 10)  And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is  none like unto the L
ORD our God.
( 11)  And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people;  they shall remain in the river only.
(12)  And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the L
ORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.
(13)  And the L
ORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.
(14)  And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.
(15 ) But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the L
ORD had said.
8:1-4 Liberation demanded     (warning)
8:5,6 Plague inflicted
8:7 Plague imitated
8:8-15 Liberation refused


Thy borders
But not the land of Goshen ( The region where the Hebrews dwelt in Egypt).

This plague,  like the proceeding,  was in general accordance with natural phenomena,  but marvelous both for its extent and intensity.  Also worshipped as symbol of fertility.


Upon thy bed
In Palestine beds were mats or couches, and could be moved;  but in Egypt there were special bedchambers.  These were used later in Palestine  (2 Sam. 4:7).  The extreme cleanliness of the Egyptians rendered this plague peculiarly disagreeable to them.


Intreat the LORD
Intreat: `athar (aw-thar');  a primitive root [rather denominative from ether];  to burn incense in worship, i.e. intercede (reciprocally, listen to prayer)
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The frog, which was now used as an instrument of affliction and punishment,  whether from reverence or abhorrence, was an object of national superstition with the Egyptians.  It was an emblem of Osiris,  and the god Ptha was represented with a frog's head.  The significance of this second plague,  therefore,  appears in its being a severe rebuke to the Egyptians for their reptile worship.  But the vast numbers of the frogs,  together with their stench,  made them an intolerable nuisance,  so that the king was so far humbled as to promise that,  if Moses would intercede for their removal,  he would consent to the departure of Israel;  and in compliance with this appeal they were withdrawn at the very hour named by the monarch himself.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The fact that Pharaoh entreated them to intercede with Jehovah to take away the frogs,  and promised to let the people go,  that they might sacrifice to Jehovah,  was a sign that he regarded the God of Israel as the author of the plague.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Have thou this glory over me
In other words  ‘assume the honor of deciding when the plague shall cease’  or,  ‘have this glory over me, in fixing the time when the plague shall cease at my entreaty’ (Luzzatto).
The words are a polite address to the king. 

The expression is elliptical, and lee'mor (saying) is to be supplied,  as in Judg 7:2.  To give Jehovah the glory,  Moses placed himself below Pharaoh,  and left Pharaoh to fix the time for the frogs to be removed through Moses' intercession.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


None like unto the LORD
The removal of the plague at a time fixed by Pharaoh himself, should be conclusive evidence to him that it was sent by God (Driver). 


Moses cried
Cried:  sa` aq (tsaw-ak'); a primitive root; to shriek; (by implication) to proclaim (an assembly)
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Moses ... cried unto the Lord - ( earnestly entreated, vehemently implored),  because of, with reference to, the frogs.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


According to the word of Moses
In consequence of his intercession God took the plague away. 

The  frogs died
The frogs died off  (min muwt, to die away out of, from),  out of the houses,  and palaces,  and fields,  and were gathered together by bushels (chaamaariym from chomer).  The omer, the largest measure used by the Hebrews. so that the land stank with the odour of their putrefaction. 
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Third Plague  -  Gnats     Exodus 8:16 - 19

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Exodus 8:16-19
( 16)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land,  that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
( 17)  And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it  became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of  Egypt.
( 18)  And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were  lice upon man, and upon beast.
( 19)  Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened,  and he hearkened not unto them; as the L
ORD had said.
8:16 Jehovah’s command given     (no warning )
8:17 Plague inflicted
8:18-19a Imitation aborted
8:19b Jehovah’s prophecy fulfilled


Lice - Gnats
The Hebrew word here is kinnim. Meaning ‘sand flies’, or, ‘fleas.’ 

In the LXX this verse reads:  ‘Then the Lord said to Moses,  Say to Aaron,  Stretch forth thy staff with thy hand and smite the dust of the ground,  and there shall be stinging gnats among the men and the four-footed beasts throughout all the land of Egypt.’


To bring forth
God allowed them to duplicate the signs in the former cases to show the limits of their power;  and here,  by contrast,  to show that His power was unlimited.


Finger of God
The magicians had encouraged Pharaoh in his defiance of the Divine will;  hence,  their confessed failure now is the more complete.  They discern the hand or work of God in the plague.
‘Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.’

"But they did not make this acknowledgment for the purpose of giving glory to God Himself,  but simply to protect their own honour,  that Moses and Aaron might not be thought to be superior to them in virtue or knowledge.  It was equivalent to saying,  it is not by Moses and Aaron that we are restrained,  but by a divine power,  which is greater than either" (Bochart).  
The word Elohim is decisive in support of this view. 
If they had meant to refer to the God of Israel,  they would have used the name Jehovah. 
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Fourth Plague  -  Flies  (Beetles)    Exodus 8:20 - 32

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Exodus 8:20-32
(20)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
(21)  Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
(22)  And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the L
ORD in the midst of the earth.
(23)  And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
(24)  And the L
ORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.
(25)  And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.
(26)  And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the L
ORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?
(27)  We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the L
ORD our God, as he shall command us.
(28)  And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the L
ORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me
(29)  And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the L
ORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.
(30)  And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the L
(31)  And the L
ORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.
(32)  And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.


Swarms of flies
The Hebrew word here is ha-arob,  a collective singular,  from a root meaning  ‘to mix’. 
Kalisch thinks that this is referring to  ‘beetles’.  
The beetle,  or scarab,  was sacred and was regarded as the emblem of the Sun-god.  It was sculptured on monuments,  painted on tombs,  engraved on gems,  worn round the neck as an amulet and honored in ten thousand images (Geikie).  It would be like God to use this example for the Egyptians.


Set Apart
Dividing and miraculously distinguishing Goshen from the rest of Egypt. 
‘Such swarms may advance along particular lines, and so spare a given district’ (Dillmann).

The LORD in the midst of the earth
Although My glory is in Heaven,  My will is omnipotent on earth  (Rashi).


8:20-23 Liberation demanded      (warning)
8:24 Plague inflicted
8:25-31 Plague removed
8:32 Liberation refused

Let’s assume for the moment that this plague was indeed flies and not beetles.

This plague was a severe blow to all idolatrous worship and worshippers.
Cleanliness was imperative.
For this cause the priests wore linen, and shaved daily.
It was designed to destroy the worship of Beelzebub, the god of flies, and to manifest his impotence.

See Exodus 12:12 ‘gods of Egypt’


The land was ruined
Not only did the Egyptians and their cattle suffer,  but the daily occupations of the people were interrupted.


In the land
But not in the wilderness, as demanded by Moses.  At last the king begins to yield.


Abomination of the Egyptians
The sacrifice of these animals,  sacred to the Egyptians,  would be an abominable crime in their eyes. 
The ancient historian Diodorus tells of a Roman ambassador who was put to death in Egypt for killing a cat. 
We need only think of Hindu riots at the slaughtering of cows by Moslems in our own days (1952).

The Fifth Plague  -  Murrain     Exodus 9:1 - 7

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Exodus 9:1-7
(1)   Then the L
ORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
( 2)   For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
( 3)   Behold, the hand of the L
ORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
( 4)   And the L
ORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
( 5)   And the L
ORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.
( 6)   And the L
ORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
( 7)   And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
9:1-5 Liberation demanded      (warning)
9:6  Plague inflicted
9:7a Plague verified
9:-7b Liberation refused


A very grievous murrain
A ‘rinderpest’. 

This name is given to a fatal cattle-disease which affected not only the flocks and herds,  but also the camels,  horses and asses.  The record of its onset immediately after the plague of flies makes it probable that it was an epizootic, whose germs were carried by these insects as those of rinderpest or splenic fever may be. Cattle plagues have in recent years been very destructive in Egypt;  many writers have given descriptions of the great devastation wrought by the outbreak in 1842.  In this case Wittmann noted that contact with the putrid carcasses caused severe boils,  a condition also recorded in Exodus as following the murrain.  
The very extensive spread of rinderpest within the last few years in many districts of Egypt has not yet been completely stamped out,  even in spite of the use of antitoxic serum and the most rigid isolation. 
The word  "murrain"  is probably a variant of the Old French morine.  It is used as an imprecation by Shakespeare and other Elizabethan writers,  and is still applied by herdsmen to several forms of epidemic cattle sickness.  Among early writers it was used as well for fatal plagues affecting men;  thus,  Lydgate (1494) speaks of the people  "slain by that moreyne."
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

Traders who brought merchandise across the Arabian desert early introduced the camel into Egypt. See Gen. 37:25. Horses,  which are said to have been unknown there prior to the Hyksos invasion,  became common under the Eighteenth Dynasty,  when they were used in war.


Shall make a division
The land of Goshen, where the chosen people dwelt,  is again to be immune from the plague.


All the cattle
In the field.  The word  ‘all’  need not be pressed,  but understood  (as often in Hebrew and other languages) merely to denote such a large number that those which remained may be disregarded (Keil). 
Compare the English phrase ‘all the world knows.’ Ex 9:6

That is,  All the cattle that did die belonged to the Egyptians,  but not one died that belonged to the Israelites. 
That the whole stock of cattle belonging to the Egyptians did not die we have the fullest proof,  because there were cattle both to be killed and saved alive in the ensuing plague, Ex 9:19-25. 
By this judgment the Egyptians must see the vanity of the whole of their national worship,  when they found the animals which they not only held sacred but deified,  slain without distinction among the common herd,  by a pestilence sent from the hand of Yahweh.  One might naturally suppose that after this the animal worship of the Egyptians could never more maintain its ground.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

The Sixth Plague  -  Boils      Exodus 9:8 - 16

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Exodus 9:8-12
(8)    And the L
ORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
(9)    And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
(10)  And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
(11)  And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
(12)  And the L
ORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.


These boils were the first plague which attacked and endangered the lives of men;  and in this respect it was the first foreboding of the death which Pharaoh would bring upon himself by his continued resistance.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Ashes of the furnace
In other words from the altars on which human sacrifices were sometimes offered to propitiate their god Typhon (the Evil Principle).  These were doubtless being offered to avert the plagues,  and Moses,  using the ashes in the same way,  produced another plague instead of averting it.


The magicians could not stand
Not only were they unable to imitate it,  but they were themselves included in the affliction.


Hardened the heart
‘Pharaoh’s sin preceded and provoked God’s punishments,  which however,  far from moving his stubborn heart,  tended to harden it still more,  and to bring him into a self-conscious opposition to the God of Israel’  (Kalisch).


Every time the voice of conscience is disobeyed,  it becomes duller and feebler,  and the heart grows harder.

Man cannot remain  ‘neutral’  in the presence of Duty or of any direct command of God. 
He either obeys the Divine command, and it becomes unto him a blessing; 
Or he defies God, and such command then becomes unto him a curse.

‘It is part of the Divinely ordered scheme of things that if a man deliberately chooses evil, it proceeds to enslave him; it blinds and stupefies him, making for him repentance well-nigh impossible’ (Riehm)

Thus,  every successive refusal on the part of Pharaoh to listen to the message of Moses froze up his better nature more and more,  until it seemed as if God had hardened his heart.  But this is only so because Pharaoh had first hardened it himself,  and continued doing so.
The Omniscient God knew beforehand whither his obstinacy would lead Pharaoh,  and prepared Moses for initial failure by warning him that Pharaoh’s heart would become ‘hardened’.

2 Pet 2:20-22
( 20)  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
( 21)  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
( 22)  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.    (KJV)

The Seventh Plague  -  Hail       Exodus 9:17 - 35

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Exodus 9:13-17
(13)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
(14)  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
(15)  For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
(16)  And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
(17)  As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?


All my plagues
This applies to all the plagues which follow;  the effect of each was foreseen and foretold. 

At this time
The words  "at this time"  point to a rapid and continuous succession of blows. 
The plagues which precede appear to have been spread over a considerable time:

The first message of Moses was delivered after the early harvest of the year before, when the Israelites could gather stubble, i.e. in May and April
The second mission, when the plagues began, was probably toward the end of June, and they went on at intervals until the winter; this plague was in February   (see Ex 9:31)

(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Hebrew word here is  maggephah;  and this is not the word for the ten plagues,  but means a fatal chastisement  (See Numbers 14:37)

That thou mayest know
The reason why God had not destroyed Pharaoh at once was twofold:

(1) That Pharaoh himself might experience (to cause to see, i.e., to experience) the might of Jehovah,  by which he was compelled more than once to give glory to Jehovah  (v. 27; Ex 10:16-17; 12:31)
(2) That the name of Jehovah might be declared throughout all the earth. 

(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Moffat translates v. 15  ‘Otherwise,  I would have exerted my force and struck you and your people with pestilence,  till you were swept off the earth’.

Exodus 9:17-35 
(17)  As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
(18)  Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
(19)  Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
(20)  He that feared the word of the L
ORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
(21)  And he that regarded not the word of the L
ORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.
(22)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
(23)  And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the L
ORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
(24)  So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
(25)  And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
(26)  Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
(27)  And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the L
ORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
(28)  Entreat the L
ORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.
(29)  And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the L
ORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD's.
(30)  But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the L
ORD God.
(31)  And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.
(32)  But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
(33)  And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.
(34)  And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
(35)  And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the L
ORD had spoken by Moses.
9:13-19 Warning given
9:20,21 People’s regard and disregard
9:22-26 Warning fulfilled
9:27-35  Pharaoh’s regard and disregard


Exaltest thou thyself
In other words  ‘thou raises thyself as an obstacle’  against My people,  and opposes their emancipation. 
The Targum and Rashi translate this verse as  ‘thou trendiest down (oppresses) My people.’


Feared the word of the LORD
This is the first indications that the warnings had a salutary effect upon the Egyptians.


Fire ran down unto the earth
Probably lightning is implied. Luzzatto suggests thunder-bolts.


Fire flashing up amidst the hail
Perhaps forked or zigzag lightning is meant.

Collected together, i.e., formed into balls (cf. Ezek 1:4).  "The lightning took the form of balls of fire, which came down like burning torches.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Perhaps David alludes to this when,  describing God's glorious appearances for the discomfiture of his enemies,  he speaks of the hailstones and coals of fire he threw among them  ( Ps 18:12-13).  
And there is a plan reference to it on the pouring out of the seventh vial, Rev 16:21.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

27-33    Pharaoh craves a third time for the cessation of the Plague  (See 8:8,28).


Sinned this time
Pharaoh this time confesses his fault as he had never done before.  His penitence,  however,  as the sequel shows, is not very deep (Driver).

I and my people are THE SINNERS


Gone out of the city
Which was full of idols (Midrash).


Flax and barley were smitten
The time indicated is the end of  January or the beginning of  February. 
Flax was much esteemed by the Egyptians,  and Egypt was the great linen market of the ancient world. 
Barley was used for making a coarse bread eaten by the poor.


Wheat and the spelt
Wheat was the most cultivated grain in Egypt. 
Spelt,  in Isaiah 28:25  rye is also called spelt.  And in Ezekiel 4:9  we find that it is a kind of wild wheat.


He sinned yet more
Having acknowledged that God was righteous (v. 27),  he continues to resist His commands. 
He now becomes a rebel.  The ministers of state are associated with the king in the obstinate resistance to God.


End of Lesson Two


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